Hosey: If it’s for Star Wars Day, you just have to ask

When it comes to spending money, you need to prioritize.

Take this Star Wars Days debacle, for example, which was nearly lost forever because the people running the public library didn’t make it a priority to ask anybody for help with the event. Not that you can really blame them when you consider library Director Megan Millen isn’t even from Joliet and doesn’t understand the way things run around here.

City Councilwoman Jan Quillman was kind enough to explain all this, telling Millen, “This is how Joliet works.”

“I know you don’t live here,” Quillman said, or more accurately, scolded.

A Stormtrooper during the Joliet Public Library's fifth annual Star Wars Day on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

“You live in Homewood,” she said. “It’s different here. We come together as a community, always.”

Yes, in Joliet, they always come together, especially on the city council. Except for the times when they’re fighting with one another about such things as hiring a permanent city manager, which took two years and a few months, and necessitated a councilman resigning amidst claims the mayor was blackmailing him with a sex picture. But sure, they come together as a community, always.

That wasn’t all Quillman had to say to Millen either, as she told her, “We give the library money and we floated your six-point-billion — $6.5 million dollar bond, which I voted no for and I’m so glad that I did now that I see how things are run, because if you’re in trouble you don’t ask for help.”

And at that point you have to wonder if Quillman can even hear the words that come out of her own mouth.

She didn’t want to give the library money to fix up the library, but when it comes to Star Wars Days, all of a sudden she’s Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife. But again, it’s about priorities.

The thing is, that $6.5 million for the library is to be paid through a state grant, so the city really isn’t on the hook for any of it, although Councilman Larry Hug had his doubts.

“You’re rolling the dice,” Hug said before he, Quillman and Councilman Terry Morris voted against letting the library have the money.

“Personally, if I’m going to roll the dice or gamble, I probably wouldn’t do it with the state of Illinois,” he said. “I’d do it with the ponies.”

"A Waterloo" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

Wait — is Hug betting on races at the track or an OTB, or is he shooting craps with actual horses? It’s almost like that painting of the dogs playing poker, only if they were thoroughbreds and Hug was sitting at the table with them holding a handful of cards.

Whether it’s dogs or ponies or dice or cards, the answer to the whole library problem is right there and that answer is legalized gambling.

All they have to do is install gambling machines in the library as part of this multimillion dollar renovation and it will pay for itself and for Star Wars Days, an occasion that is nothing short of a national treasure. Just ask Quillman.

“Everybody loves this event,” she said. “It’s huge. It’s one of the biggest events in the United States.”

One of the biggest events in the United States? It sounds like Quillman doesn’t get out of Joliet too often. Maybe she should take a trip to Homewood.

• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at or on Twitter @JoeHosey.

Joseph Hosey

Joseph Hosey

Joe Hosey became editor of The Herald-News in 2018. As a reporter, he covered the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and criminal investigation of her husband, former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson. He was the 2015 Illinois Journalist of the Year and 2014 National Press Club John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award winner.